| 3.3°C Dublin

Horse-fall garda fights for his life

A GARDA horserider is fighting for his life after a horrific fall from a horse.

Amateur jockey Matt MacKenzie-Smith (34) is in a critical but stable condition after suffering serious head injuries during a fall in Oldcastle, Co Meath, on Sunday.

The married father-of-two from Athgarvan, Co Kildare is in the intensive care unit of Dublin's Beaumont Hospital.

Medics at the top neurological hospital will have to wait a number of days for the swelling on the brain to come down before attempting to make a prognosis.

His close friend and horse trainer Denis Cullen and Matt's distraught wife Leanne are keeping a bedside vigil as they pray for his recovery.

"Matt is in an induced coma, they'll keep him that way for the next week or so and give him a chance," Denis said."Hopefully, he doesn't take a turn between now and then.


"His family are devastated. He is not long married and has two young kids. He's a great fighter and we all hope he pulls through."

Matt was initially rushed to Cavan General Hospital following his fall at the point-to-point meeting.

"I think the horse just stood out at the fence and just caught the top of it," Denis added.

Meanwhile, professional jump jockey Peter Toole is showing signs of improvement following his heavy fall at the Aintree Festival.

He is expected to be transferred to Dublin's Beaumont Hospital in the next week to ten days and is responding well to treatment.

The 22-year-old jockey suffered bleeding on the right side of his brain when Classic Fly fell at the first fence in the Maghull Novices' Chase at the Aintree festival over a fortnight ago.

The Injured Jockeys' Fund and Aintree racecourse have been supporting Toole's parents, who were at the meeting.

"They have been overwhelmed by the number of messages and cards they have received and would like to say thank you to all their well-wishers," said a spokesman.